Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from March 6, 2011

Oppositional character under capitalism: underground men and beasts 1

“Let the following stand as a remarkable proof of the frivolous nature of the magic art. Of all animals it is the mole that the magicians admire most! a creature that has been stamped with condemnation by Nature in so many ways, doomed as it is to perpetual blindness and adding to this darkness a life of gloom in the depths of the earth and a state more nearly resembling that of the dead and buried. There is no animal in the entrails of which they put such implicit faith, no animal they think better suited for the rites of religion …” Pliny, Natural History There are two undergrounds in the Modern era, distinguished mainly by who or what inhabits them. One is the underground of the mole or beast; one is the underground of the revolutionary or reactionary. They touch each other, but they stem from different beginnings – one from magic and nature, the other from waste and the order of the city. The first takes its emblem from this moment in Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5, after Hamlet’s en

the anthropological use of the novel

In his preface to Anthropology from the Pragmatic Point of View, Kant wrote: “Finally, there are those things that are not, in truth, sources of Anthropology, but supplements [ Hülfsmittel] to it: world history, biographies, and yes, even plays and novels. Because although both of the last are not actually founded in experience and truth, but only in poetic imagining, and the exaggeration of characters and situations are allowed wherein persons are set as in dream images, and this seems to hold nothing out for the teaching of the knowledge of mankind, still these characters, as they are sketched out by a Richardson or a Moliere, must have their fundamental features taken from out of the observation of the real action and forbearance of men because they, although exaggerated to a degree in quality, must after all still agree with human nature.” The key to the exaggeration of the artist is the degree of accuracy of his observation of the characters and situations of human kind. But